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Gunstein Bakke

Portrait of Gunstein Bakke

Gunstein Bakke (b.1968) was born in Setesdal, a valley in Aust-Agder county in southern Norway. He made his authorial debut in 2000 with the novel Kontoret. All his publications have been well received, but with Maud and Aud he has finally been recognized as one of the most original and interesting voices among Norwegian authors. Bakke's thought-provoking book combines poetic language, polyphonic narrative and astute analysis in a manner that stands out in contemporary Norwegian literature, and Maud and Aud has brought him much acclaim from literary critics as well as several nominations for Norwegian literary prizes. Bakke currently lives partly in Oslo, partly in Gotland.

Winning Book

Maud og Aud - ein roman om trafikk (Maud and Aud- A Novel on Traffic)

Maud and Aud consists of short chapters that alternate between narrative flashes and poetic descriptions, containing reflections on traffic and the physical aspects of human life in a society where technology has become an increasingly important part of our bodies as well as our lives. At the centre of the plot is a family which is devastated by a car accident: the mother dies, the father can only live on supported by artificial body parts, and the twin sisters Maud and Aud survive with bodily and mental scars. As it turns out, the sister with the lesser physical injuries is the one who cannot shake off the trauma of her family's encounter with death, and she is drawn to the thrill of reckless driving, both in her job as a traffic reporter and secretly during nightly drives to scenes of recent car accidents. From this starting point, the author creates an essayistic net of reflections on thematically connected topics. These include how the first heart transplant operation performed in Cape Town in 1967 expanded our possibilities of fighting physical death, and how Princess Diana in 1997 was chased to her death as her car crashed in the Pont de l'Alma-tunnel in Paris. Furthermore, he dwells on how cars represent one of the greatest threats to human life in modern civil society, but they are still perceived as a smaller threat to man than wild animals hunted to near extinction, arguing that evolution has not caught up with the rapid development of modern civilization. In short, Gunstein Bakke touches on questions of existential importance in a country where oil fuels not only the cars, but also a large part of society's development - and possibly also environmental developments that may eventually pose new threats to human life.

Cover of Maud og Aud - ein roman om trafikk

Publishing House

Address: 

P.B. 6848 St. Olavs plass, Oslo, Norway

Phone No.: 
23 35 46 20
Organisation: 
FORLAGET OKTOBER AS

Agent / Rights Director

Representative: 
Frøydis Jørve Strømme

Translation Deals

  • Albania: Skanderbeg
  • Bulgaria: Prozoretz Publishing House Ltd
  • Czech Republic: Dauphin
  • FYROM: ILI-ILI
  • Latvia: Apgads Mansards
  • Serbia: Heliks Doo

Excerpt

Traduit par : Aude Pasquier

 

C’est une route d’asphalte qui vient d’être posée, ou plus exactement : une bande d’asphalte qui vient d’être posée et recouvre la moitié de la chaussée. L’autre, quelques centimètres plus bas, est vieille, grise. Dessus roulent de petites colonnes de voitures, comme des queues, qui se sont formées aux feux de signalisation provisoires et mobiles.

 

Les ouvriers sont rentrés chez eux, mais l’asphalte est frais et odorant. Sa masse épaisse est encore chaude sous la plante des pieds de la petite fille sortie marcher sur ce ruban noir, qui laisse maintenant de légères traces derrière elle. A chaque pas, ça vacille lorsque la matière collante cède et tient bon, cède et tient bon. Ça lui rappelle quand elle mange des kransekaker, avec leurs couronnes craquantes empilées. Elle a envie de manger la route.

 

Quand elle s’allonge pour faire une silhouette d’ange, la surface porteuse est trop grande. Elle n’accueille pas l’empreinte de son corps, et les mouvements de ses bras – les battements d’ailes – ne trouvent pas prise sur le bitume. Ce n’est que lorsqu’elle se relève que se forme un petit creux sous ses fesses. Et parmi les fils et les bandelettes déchirés dans le fin tissu du dos de sa robe, on peut, si on regarde bien, sous les signes qui montrent que la nouvelle route a connu son premier accident, deviner que l’asphalte a également reçu l’empreinte de fleurs.

Other Details

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